No. 8 Beavers Remain Unbeaten, Finish in Deadlock with No. 7 Bruins
Feb. 17, 2012
CORVALLIS - The No. 8 Oregon State gymnastics team tied for first place with No. 7 UCLA with scores of 196.775 and the Beavers remain unbeaten through the season’s first six weeks. Makayla Stambaugh (39.425) and Leslie Mak (39.400) finished first and second in the all-around to pace the Beavers.
"I was really pleased with the first three events," head coach Tanya Chaplinsaid. "The last event (floor), we had some uncharacteristic mistakes and tightened up a little bit. Not huge mistakes but enough that in this type of situation, you can't have them. We're going to learn a lot from this and try to do some different things to put them under a little more pressure."
Oregon State record moved to 7-0-1 (3-0-1 Pac-12), while UCLA goes to 8-1-1 (3-1-1) and California falls to 4-5 (0-5). The tie is just the second official tie in Chaplin's 15-year career at OSU.
Oregon State got off to a fast start posting a team score of 49.200 on the vault to tie the team's season-high. Mak and Stambaugh each scored 9.825 and Brittany Harris added a score of 9.875 to set the stage for Kelsi Blalock, who has been the team's highest scorer on the vault this season, to nail a huge vault to score 9.925.
With the fast start the Beavers held the early advantage 49.200-49.025 over the Bruins while the Bears had already fallen out of the running at 48.325. The Beavers, who rank No. 3 in the nation on the bars, hit six more routines in the second rotation with all six scoring between 9.825 and 9.875. Melanie Jones established a career-high (9.85) and Hannah Casey tied her personal best (9.825) to lead off the event and Harris pitched in a 9.85. Stambaugh, Mak and Olivia Vivianeach posted scores of 9.875 to tie for second on the event.
At the midpoint Oregon State had stretched the lead to 98.525-98.125 heading to the balance beam, where scores were hard earned all night. Stambaugh and Blalock started the Beavers off with matching scores of 9.80, but the middle scores of Harris and Jones slipped to 9.775 and 9.75 respectively. Vivian tallied a score of 9.85 to reverse the trend and set up Mak, who entered the night ranked No. 2 in the nation on the beam. Mak did not disappoint matching her career-high for the second straight week with a 9.95 including a perfect 10.0 from one judge.
"I was really excited," Mak said. "That did feel like a really good beam routine for me. I felt so calm and relaxed, which wasn't always the case. At this level it's really hard to get a 10, so the fact that one of the judges saw perfection in my routine is an honor."
The Beavers finished the rotation with a meet-high 49.175. Despite the solid beam score, the Bruins had closed the gap with phenomenal vaulting and had posted a score of 49.450 to head for the fourth rotation trailing by little more than one-tenth, 147.700-147.575.
OSU finished the meet on the floor exercise, where the Beavers are ranked No. 3 in the nation, but after Blalock tied her career-best (9.825) they couldn't hold off the Bruins' charge. Harris scored 9.775 but an uncharacteristic out of bounds deduction for Jones (9.80) and a low landing on tumbling pass by Mak (9.75) put the final result in doubt. Needing a big score to salvage a win, Stambaugh performed a beautiful routine to score 9.925 and preserve the tie with the Beavers' Pac-12 rivals.
"We'll go back and look at the end," Vivian said. "It's always about striving for that perfect 10. We're going to find those little details in our routine that we got deducted for and correct them. We want to be able to put a routine out there where they have no choice but to give us a 10 because they can't find anything wrong with it."
Oregon State remains at home next Friday, Feb. 24, when the Beavers host No. 14 Boise State in a dual meet. Fans are encouraged to get their tickets early to avoid waiting in line. The Gill Coliseum box office will open at 5 p.m. on the night of the meet and doors will open at 6 p.m. with the meet beginning at 7 p.m.
Note: The Beavers finished the 2010 NCAA Columbia Regional Championships tied for second with Georgia. Since only two teams could advance to NCAA Championships the tie was broken by going factoring in all 24 routines giving OSU the win and the Beavers advanced to nationals … the most recent tie for OSU came in 2002 when the Beavers tied for first with Arizona State at the UNO’s Classic in Tempe … the Beavers “hit” all 24 routines for the first time this season … all four all-around performers score 39-plus points for the first time this year – Stambaugh (39.425), Mak (39.400), Brittany Harris (39.275) and Melanie Jones (39.125).
Team Scores: No. 8 Oregon State 196.775; No. 8 UCLA 196.775; California 192.350.